Verbal communication is vital to critically ill mechanically ventilated patient's quality of
life (Hess, 2005). Patients who have a tracheostomy tube may be able to communicate using a
speaking valve, however, some patients may not be able to tolerate cuff deflation for use of
speaking valve. There are talking tracheostomy tubes that do not require cuff deflation to
facilitate speech in this population. Unfortunately, not all candidates are offered these
options due to lack of awareness. Recently, at our institution, there has been an increase in
the use of these tubes to facilitate speech. One of the talking tracheotomy tubes that has
proven to be effective is the Portex Blueline Ultra Suctionaid (BLUSA).
In 2010, we conducted a retrospective review of 4 cases and found that BLUSA tracheostomy
helped facilitate communication in this unique population (IRB #: NA_00041547). We would now
like to formally conduct a prospective pilot study to evaluate the feasibility of measuring
outcomes of patients with a BLUSA using a pretest-posttest research design.
Communication empowers patients and allows healthcare staff to obtain a more accurate
assessment of patients' condition and tailor care accordingly. Identifying the predictors of
speech intelligibility and the impact of BLUSA on quality of life will promote communication
between patients and healthcare providers.
Study Hypothesis: Determine the impact of a talking tracheostomy tube on quality of life in
patients requiring prolonged mechanical ventilation in the hospital.
- Mechanically ventilated via tracheostomy
- Awake, alert, and attempting to communicate
- Able to understand English
- Fresh tracheostomy within 48 hours